May 8, 2019 6:22 am

Kingston city council set to finalize strategic priorities for current term

Global News

Kingston city council brainstormed for three days in the last week of March to come up with a list of strategic priorities for this municipal government’s term.

By the end, the 12 councillors and mayor Brian Paterson narrowed it down to a list of five broad areas.

Housing affordability, climate action economic development, improving roads, transportation and walkability are all on the list.

READ MORE: Kingston city council chooses priorities for remainder of term

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Council will now receive a report from staff, detailing a number of options for achieving those goals.

Staff were directed to provide options that kept the municipal tax increase between 2 and 2.8 per cent.

Paterson says he would like that increase to be under 2.5 per cent, which will mean more scrutiny of the priorities by council.

“We’re going to be talking about our capital projects,” Paterson told Global News. “What are the things that need to be done now? What are some of the projects we can defer for a few years as well.”

Municipal staff were supposed to have the report ready in April, but it was delayed until early May.

READ MORE: Kingston city council declares climate emergency

The extra time was to allow staff to digest the impacts of the provincial budget.

Funding cuts and downloading could seriously impact how quickly councillors can move forward with their priority plans.

WATCH: Council approves a climate change fund, allowing private donations for green initiatives (March 20)

Even at this date, Paterson says, not all the provincial budget impacts are known.

“We don’t fully understand what all the financial impacts are going to be, so we’re going to have to discuss what we know,” the mayor said.

Paterson says they will also have to be flexible so they can react as more information becomes available.

“We’ll have to keep that door open for what we don’t know to be able to make further plans and adjustments throughout this next year.”

The evening meeting runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. May 7 and is taking place at Goodes Hall on the Queen’s University campus.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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